Frequent travelers will no doubt be aware of the requirements for U.S. citizens regarding passports when travelling abroad. For those that are travelling for the first time, read on. Along with having the correct travel insurance, visitors to countries outside the U.S also need to comply with passport requirements. While you are still permitted to travel without travel insurance, it should also be considered an essential.

A passport is your best form of documentation for travel to other countries and to enter the United States. Your passport is an internationally recognized document that is only issued by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Many countries will only accept a passport as your means of visiting the country.

Up until 2007 travelers could depart the country and enter back into the United States by air with just a document showing ID and proof of a passport application. Today, you will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. by air unless you have a valid passport.

Some countries need you to have at least six months on your passport before it expires or they will not allow you to enter. Make sure you apply for your passport several months before you plan to travel – or do it now and you’ll have it ready for any future trips.